H. Jack Miller
February 2, 1928 – October 18, 2018
Miller – H. Jack Jack Miller, first-born son of Benjamin Miller and Ida Rothstein, died peacefully in his home on October 18, 2018. Jack was born in Asheville, NC on February 2, 1928, and after moving with the family across the eastern seaboard, eventually came to Miami in 1940. He attended school at Riverside Elementary and Ada Merritt Junior High, that eventually grew to replace the site where his family’s house stood. After graduating from Miami High in 1946, he immediately signed up in the Army and served in Korea, so he could use the GI Bill to attend the University of Miami. On a blind date set up by his brother Gordon, Jack met and soon married his first wife, Sheila, and started a family. To make ends meet, he worked as an attorney/adjuster for Southern General Insurance Company while attending the UM Law School. Upon graduation, Jack singled out Bud Lally, an attorney among the early greats in the then-new field of Workers’ Compensation, as an ideal role model and began attending hearings to watch him in action. It wasn’t long before Lally, impressed with Jack’s friendly and candid enthusiasm, offered him work at his insurance agency. Working his way up, Jack became an associate in the law practice, and then full partner in what became known as Lally & Miller, and then Lally, Miller & Hodges when Dick Hodges came along. When Lally retired, the firm became Miller and Hodges. When George Kagan was hired, the firm became Miller Hodges and Kagan. Several personnel changes later, the firm was known as Miller Kagan Rodriguez and Silver (MKRS) when Jack retired in 1998. Over the years, the firm helped to pioneer the workman’s compensation law practice from its inception in Florida, becoming one of the largest, most highly sought-after Workmen’s Compensation law practices in the state.
Jack’s reputation grew as a consummate professional and zealous advocate who was even-handed and candid. In 1968, he was appointed by the Governor of Florida to a special Blue-Ribbon panel charged with developing a comprehensive overview of the workers’ compensation statute. After getting his first taste of politics, with few tangible results from his labors, Jack vowed never again to devote his energy to the Tallahassee scene, focusing instead on growing his firm and its reputation, and providing for his growing family.
As his business prospered, he moved to South Miami, and was chosen to serve as President of the South Miami Homeowner’s Association; one of his proudest accomplishments was having dozens of trees planted in the young City’s streetscapes, still there today.
Jack had many anecdotes about growing up in Miami. From the day he arrived in Riverside, the district known today as East Little Havana, he would wake up at 4:30 AM to deliver the newspaper before going to school each day, right through college, handing all his collection money to Margie to count, and deposit into the family till. In 11th and 12th grade, he only stopped working during baseball season; He loved to tell the story when he hit the only inside-the-park home run – and the only home run he ever hit – in Miami High history!
Jack married Evelyn, his wife for the last 39 years, whom he loved dearly and shared many interests, especially entertaining family and friends, playing bridge and tennis. Jack was lucky enough to play tennis into his early 80’s, all the while making many friends, both at the Royal Palm Tennis Club and at the Mountain Laurel Tennis Club in Highlands, North Carolina, where he and Evelyn “summered” for over twenty years, building a second, beautiful life there. In Highlands, Jack relished his role as Board Member and Facilitator for the Center for Life Enrichment. He and Evelyn also enjoyed inviting visiting local scholars and musicians to their home, and volunteering at the Mountain Findings Thrift Shop. He took great pride in doing the right thing, the importance of responsibility to community and family, and speaking the truth. A humble and generous man at heart, he wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. He was a contributor and volunteered on behalf of many charitable organizations in South Florida, including the David and Mary Alper Jewish Community Center, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, and his alma mater University of Miami.
Jack had an infectious, signature smile, inherited from his father. His nickname was “Smilin’ Jack”, for that easy, big smile that brightened many a room. He just liked people, and people liked him. Almost two years ago, Jack was honored to be elected as “Senior Prom King” at the Palace in Coral Gables, where he spent his last two and half years.
Among his passions were music and dancing (especially Swing!), reading history and biographies, keeping up with political events and loving to engage in heated debate with his adversaries!, and following his beloved Hurricanes, the Miami Heat and tennis. He was proud of his family, and especially of his children’s and step-children’s accomplishments. As his health began to fail over the last six months, he became at peace with his impending death, even welcoming it. With his family almost entirely in Miami, he was comforted with the knowledge he was surrounded by loved ones.
Jack was predeceased by his parents, Ben and Ida Miller, sister Marjorie and brother-in-law, Herschel Rosenthal. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Evelyn Miller, brother Dr. Gordon Miller and sister Beryl Saluk (Paul), his children, Judge David C. Miller (Marilyn), Barry (Adriana), and Laurie de Solo (Santiago), along with grandchildren Jason (Victoria), Aaron (Jessica), Gabriel, Alexandra, David and Courtney, great-grandchildren, Scott, Isabella, Sophia, Lucas and Jordan, and his step-children, Carol, Todd and Richard Tragash, step-grandchildren Max, Sophia, Brooks, Jake, Eli and step-great grandchildren Nayeli & Augustus, along with many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Our family would like to extend its heartfelt gratitude to Elaine Brooks, who with loving care helped to make Jack’s final days more comfortable and peaceful.
To honor Jack’s legacy of giving to the community, the family requests that in lieu of flowers, to send any charitable donations to their preferred educational, environmental, or social services organizations. Services will be held at 2:00 PM Sunday, October 21st, 2018 at Mt. Nebo’s Cemetery Chapel followed by interment at Mount Nebo Cemetery, 5900 SW 77th Ave, Miami, FL. The family will gather to sit Shiva at the Palace at Coral Gables following the service.
- Ben Miller, Father
- Ida Rothstein, Mother
- Evelyn Brooks Tragash, Wife
- Judge David C. Miller, Son
- Barry Miller, Son
- Laurie de Solo, Daughter
- Dr Gordon Miller, Brother
- Beryl Saluk, Sister
- Marjorie Miller, Sister
- Herschel Rosenthal, Brother-in-law
- Mr Miller leaves to cherish his memory his grandchildren Jason (Victoria), Aaron (Jessica), Gabriel, Alexandra, David and Courtney, great-grandchildren, Scott, Isabella, Sophia, Lucas and Jordan, and his step-children, Carol, Todd and Richard Tragash, step-grandchildren Max, Sophia, Brooks, Jake, Eli and step-great grandchildren Nayeli & Augustus, along with many nieces, nephews and cousins.
- Temple Beth Am
- Funeral Service Sunday, October 21, 2018
H. Jack Miller
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October 24, 2018
Dear Evie, Carol, Todd, Richard and the entire family.
So sorry to hear of Jack's passing. Though I only had the honor of meeting him but a few times, I know how loving
he was by the looks of happiness on the faces of the family. Evie, I know how hard this time is and is going to be, but if experience is any indication, "Love is better the second time around" is certainly a truism that I can relate to.
May you all take solace in the love you gave and received from him and in the wonderful memories that you shared.
October 22, 2018
Jack was a wonderful friend and neighbor! He always greeted you
With a smile.
He will be truly missed!
I will always remember him walking around Little Bear Pen in Highlands with
his Black cowboy hat on😀